The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History

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9780340728307: The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History

From the wooden horse of Troy to the Gulf War, military history has been as much marked by chance and error, as by gallantry and heroism. Many conflicts have been decided by the caprice of weather, bad intelligence, heroism where it wasn't expected, or individual incompetence. In military terms, the incident which can swing a battle from victory to defeat in a moment is known as the Hinge Factor.The Hinge Factor vividly describes battles which demonstrate this phenomenon - including the circumstances behind the loss of the Holy Cross, through to the attack of African war bees in 1914, to Star-War weaponry described in the Gulf War.This enthralling book demystifies the general belief that battles are always won due to the brilliance of a general and will both inform and entertain a wide audience.

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Review:

What if it hadn't rained at Agincourt in 1415 and the French had, as expected, won the day? What if one of Napoleon's most trusted commanders had spiked Wellington's guns with a handful of nails at Waterloo in 1815, providing his emperor with victory? What if Hitler hadn't paused for three vital days during his invasion of France in May 1940, allowing the British Expeditionary Force precious time to evacuate from Dunkirk? Moments like these, argues Erik Durschmied, provide the hinge factor in history: examples of stupidity, chance, or accident that have irrevocably changed the outcome of human history, for better or worse.

Drawing on his extensive experience as a war correspondent with the BBC and CBS, Durschmied moves from ancient Troy and the Trojan Horse to Iraq and Operation Desert Storm, offering a persuasive and at times wry account of the ways in which chance affects the unfolding of history. Recounting 17 key moments in human conflict and warfare, The Hinge Factor is not just an amusing meditation on what might have been; it is also a poignant and vivid account of the brutality and stupidity of war. More than just an account of accidents in history, this is a thoughtful and absorbing book. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Erik Durschmied was born in Vienna in 1930. After World War 2 he emigrated to Canada. A television war correspondent for the BBC and CBS, Durschmied covered every major crisis, from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Belfast, Beirut, Chile, to Cuba and Afghanistan. Winner of numerous awards, Newsweek wrote 'Durschmied is a supremely gifted reporter who has transformed the media he works in.' And in Le Monde: 'He's survived more battles than any living general.' He lives in Paris and Provence with his family.

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Durschmied, Erik
Published by Hodder Paperback (1999)
ISBN 10: 0340728302 ISBN 13: 9780340728307
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Durschmied, Erik
Published by Hodder Paperback (1999)
ISBN 10: 0340728302 ISBN 13: 9780340728307
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